In the course of a standard day, administrative assistants need to wear a lot of hats. Due to the unique nature of this job, interviewing for an administrative position can be a much different experience than interviewing for any other job.

Of course, preparations for an admin interview should start the same as preparation for any other type of interview. Be sure to know the company, its history and its products or services inside and out. If possible, look up the people you’ll be interviewing with on LinkedIn or other social media platforms to get an idea of their background and sensibilities.

In an administrative assistant interview, a candidate needs to convey that they are capable of not only handling organizational responsibilities, but also has the ‘soft skills’ necessary to communicate effectively with executives and various clients.

Here are several types of interview questions an administrative candidate will need to be prepared to answer:

Hard Skills Questions

An administrative assistant needs to know their way around today’s office, and an interviewer will need to determine how knowledgeable a candidate is when it comes to working with programs, scheduling, collaboration, word processing, spreadsheets and even power point presentations. The ideal admin candidate will also be familiar with Mac, PC, Android and iOS operating systems.

An administrative assistant is often responsible for booking travel arrangements, so candidates must be prepared to answer questions about booking both domestic and international arrangements. Expect questions on how you have handled a major flight delay or other travel-related issue for a previous employer.

Soft Skill Questions

In addition to handling logistical or clerical details, administrative assistants are the face of their boss – and as such, are expected to represent them in the most professional and competent way possible. An interviewer will try to ascertain a candidates ‘soft skill’ level by trying to gauge their general attitude and ability to effectively communicate. Candidates are often asked how they handle circumstances involving stress, a heavy workload, or their approach to interacting with clients.

Teamwork Questions

Almost every administrative assistant is a central cog in an organization’s machine, and candidates need to expect questions about their ability to play nice with others. Common questions include asking how you contributed to a team’s success or the typical role you might play within the context of a team. Interviewers can also determine how much of a team player a candidate is by asking about their relationship with their current or former co-workers.

Anything else!

While every interviewer has their own style, administrative assistant interviews seem to be particularly rife with ‘out-of-the-box’ questions. The logic goes that you’ll be working intimately with your new boss – often through chaotic times – and you’ll need to be able to handle whatever the job throws at you, while maintaining your composure. Expect off-the-wall questions, so when they come you’ll be in the right mindset.


At Cornerstone, we have a long history of having our administrative assistant candidates get hired. Stop in to see our currently available admin jobs, and find out how you can succeed once you land that coveted interview.

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